The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere


The Pontville Party

The theme was pink and purple 

In the Pontville Party tent

And we dressed for the occasion,

Looking good was our intent.

We decorated tables

In purple and in pink

And played with colouring our hair

Asking friends “What do you think?”

And when we turned up for the “do”

We had our nibbles on our plates,

And we also had a drink or two

To share with all our mates. 

The Baker Boys performed for us

And they played long and loud.

The dancers surged to the dance floor,

It was a happy party crowd.

I finally made my way back home

My wine bottle the worse for wear,

I danced my way through the pristine grass

I didn’t have a care!

That all changed when I reached my van

And bent to fix my solar light –

I forgot to stop when I leant down

And a dramatic face plant ended my night. 

I hope no one saw me-

It was not a pretty sight –

My pride was hurt more than my head

And all because of that stupid light!

To continue the colour theme of the night

My eye is turning purple, not pink

And like Pete and Trish, Rally Managers

I’m swearing off the drink!
Rosemary Robinson 

March 2017

Forbes New South Wales

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Fun at the Forbes Solos Rally

You’re probably thinking it’s taken me a long time to recover from our Forbes Solos Rally as it happened nearly 6 weeks ago, but truth is I have been enjoying my travels with some of the Solos since leaving there and blogging wasn’t on my mind. However, I’m now feeling guilty that I haven’t kept up to date so once again I’m playing catch up…..

Here’s where Forbes sits in the big Australian picture. And where it is in relation to more local landmarks.

My last blog told of how hot the weather was and it certainly didn’t cool off for the first week or so in Forbes. The temperatures were consistently up in the mid-30 degrees Celsius which made for very hot days and uncomfortably warm nights. I was lucky to get a shady parking spot at the Rally Site which I was most grateful for.

Rally site

This was the biggest Solos Rally I had ever been to, and I think it is the biggest ever held. There were around 320 motorhomes including 72 First Timers. When we left Forbes and our shopping dockets had been added up, we had spent nearly $100,000 in town – a massive boost to the economy of this country town.

This quick slide show is of a town tour we did that included an ‘art park’, some of the old buildings in town, our visit to the biscuit factory and then out to a local business, woolerina. ….

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Most of the activties  though were back at the rally site, where Dave Applegate, the Rally Manager, and his intrepid team made sure we were on the go both day and night.

Our traditional Pet Parade saw pet owners vying for prizes in lots of different categories, although I thought Phil’s cat needed a special mention for Bravery.


Great performances at out concert with demonstrations from our dancing groups as well

The Poet’s Breakfast saw a program of talented Solos both writing and reciting their poetry. We also had a local gent perform a poem on horseback..

Market Day was well attended and our two crazy solos, Hilly and Ros, stirred up the crowd with their antics

And of course, our Dinner Dance ….. the theme at this rally was to dress as something starting with “F”……. look what we all came up with …..

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Forbes used to be known as a quiet country town famous as the final resting place of the notorious bushranger, Ben Hall.  I think the 330 odd Solos that were welcomed to Forbes in March 2017 have left an indelible mark on this friendly town and they will be talking about us for a while to come….. perhaps not as long as Ben Hall but in a much more positive way!

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Rain, Rain, Go Away….

This was a familiar refrain at the CMCA, (Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia), rally in Albany a couple of weeks ago! Despite the wet weather over 600 motorhomes and their occupants were there to enjoy themselves – and we did!  Here’s a photo of the Rally  Site posted to the CMCA Facebook page by a local photographer, Brad Harkup.

Albany aerial photo Brad Harkup

I had never been to a major rally before and thought Albany would be a good one to attend. I expected it to be smaller than those held on the east coast of Australia due to the travelling distance to the West and that proved to be true. But the organisers didn’t skimp on activities and there was plenty to do every day – if you had a rain coat or umbrella 🙂

As I was a ‘First Timer’ I entered the Rally on Friday, two days before most of the other attendees arrived. This gave us ‘newbies’ time to get to know the rally site, find out where things were, decide on what activities I wanted to participate in and set up camp.

The following day most of the Solos entered the site and on the Sunday the program started with a Trivia Night in the big white tent you can see on the oval in the photo above. That’s all I really want to say about that – We did not perform well!!

One of the activities I most enjoyed was a bus trip to see a couple of the aboriginal sites around  Albany. First we went to the Fish Traps which have existed for over 6000 years.

The National Trust has managed the Oyster Harbour Fish Traps since 1966 after they were threatened by development. It is thought the traps were once part of a Noongar camp site where people had gathered for at least 7,500 years.

The fish traps are designed in the shape of a crescent and only visible at low tide. They were first recorded by English explorer Captain George Vancouver in 1791. They consist of eight weirs made from thousands of stones. The traps caught huge numbers of fish as the Kalgan River rose and fell.

Our next stop was at Yorrl Park where long necked turtles are re-stablishing themselves and breeding in the nearby sand hills. It was interesting to note that the local schools were involved in the design of the interpretive signs, as they were for the fish trap signs above.

IMG_5584Community gardenWe finished out trip at The Old Strawberry Farm, the oldest farm in Western Australia. We didn’t have time to view the old home but harvested some lovely fresh herbs and vegetables from the community garden to take away with us. I thought it was rather special that the beautiful red poppies were flowering so close to Remembrance Day, 11th November.

I also decided to do some craft activities, much to the horror of the instructors after they had seen how hopelessly ‘uncrafty’ I am. My first attempt was at making a card – well I blew that and ended up with a very tatty looking dolphin.  I was given another one and all went well until I stuck it on the card and pressed hard to make it stick. All of a sudden my beautiful white dolphin had dirty fingermarks all over it! Here endeth my card making lesson!

I did make a bracelet using a weaving method called Kumihimo even though it was a very individual pattern – not good at following instructions! And I also made a Christmas decoration using folded ribbons which looked fantastic until I turned it up the right way and all the ribbons escaped my pins! Oh well, perhaps I’ll stick to poetry!

Every morning there was a Poet’s Breakfast and I was dedicated enough to front up each day at 7am to wait my turn to share a poem or two. Success at something at last!

Saturday night at the Rally was a ‘Ball’. A great band played, lots of people dressed to the theme of ‘ a touch of military’ and generally we had a ball!

Monday morning it was time to say goodbye to the Rally and Albany. I’m glad I’ve experienced a ‘big’ rally. I probably won’t rush to another one – perhaps Tassie in 2017 – but I’ve learned never to say never….

It’s time to have a break for a few days before I head to the Bridgetown Blues Festival. I’m certainly looking forward to that!





Big Merino Wagin WA

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We’ve Been Ragin’ in Wagin

Big Merino Wagin WA
This poem is a variation of the poem I wrote to promote our Solo Travellers Rally in Wagin this year. It was presented on the last night to close the rally and promote our next rally in Forbes, NSW in March 2016.


We’ve been ragin’ in Wagin
The Solos Rally in the west
Where Glenyce and her rally team
Have really done their best.

We’ve had the chance to learn some dancing
Or perhaps learned how to blog
Or you might have been quite happy
Walking Wagin with your dog

The morning teas have been superb,
Local ladies made the cakes,
And Glenyce and her rally team
Have coped with all the flakes!

I’m sure we’ve all enjoyed ourselves
There’s been lots to see and do
And we’ve caught up with our solo friends
Some known, and then some new.

Our journey to this rally
Has brought us from far and wide,
We’ve travelled here from everywhere
Across the countryside.

We arrived here to enjoy ourselves
And catch up with our friends
And the rally team made sure we could
So it’s sad when a rally ends.

Some of us are roving
Down to Albany for more,
And I’m looking forward to finding out
What the ‘grown ups’ have in store.

The next time when we all catch up
At Forbes, next March or so
A new rally team will have worked just as hard
To put on a fabulous show.

So write it in your calendar,
Enjoy your journey on the way,
Take good memories here from Wagin
Look out Forbes, we’re there to play!

Rosemary Robinson October 2015


Ragin’ in Wagin

This poem was written to promote the CMCA Solos Rally in Wagin, Western Australia in October 2015 and was shared at our Penola Rally in South Australia in March 2015

We’ll be ragin’ in Wagin
The Solos Rally in the West
Where the wild flowers are spectacular
And the beaches are the best.
And whether you come over the top
Or across the Nullabor
You’ll find that Western Australia
Has amazing things in store.

From the pure white sandy beaches
That you’ll see at Cape Le Grande,
To the rugged cliffs of Kalbarri
And the red earth of the inland.
The National Parks provide great camps
And it’s not hard to find free sites,
Where fellow travellers meet for fun
To enjoy the starry nights.

The country towns are friendly
The station stays a must
But the wind blows strong on the west coast
And you’ll never get rid of red dust.
Yet the dust’s like a badge of honour,
It says you’ve travelled far,
And you’ve ventured on those long dirt roads
And not stuck to the tar.

So make the trip to Wagin
Enjoy your journey on the way
Gather lots of great experiences
And we’ll see you in WA!

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Penola Solos Rally

What a great catch up with many Solo friends I hadn’t seen for 12 months. Lots of HUGS all round!

I have to say Penola wasn’t the most enjoyable rally I have ever been to, although that is no reflection on the rally organizers – more to do with the weather, which was cold and wet for most of the rally. This really stopped a lot of informal gatherings that normally happen and I found the cold weather a real shock to my system…. I’m definitely a sunshine and summertime girl!

The program was stacked with things to do – line dancing, rock ‘n roll and ballroom dancing lessons plus trips to wineries and the Naracoorte caves. There were workshops for musicians, computers and photography and of course the traditional Poet’s Breakfast, where I told a couple of my poems.

Our Big Night was themed red and white as Penola is in the famous Coonawarra wine growing area of South Australia.

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The final day of the rally was our Sports Day organized by Rainey and her band of helpers. The sun shone and it was a lot of fun, with the old fashioned egg and spoon races, tunnel ball and a three-legged race. The highlight, though, was the grape stomping competition. Handmaidens washed the feet of our grape stompers, Tony and John, and then they trod the wine and filled the bottles with grape juice as it poured from the barrels. A lot of fun – and a lot of energy expended by the stompers!

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Sunday night, our last night, was skit night which was a lot of fun and then there was a promotion for the next Solos Rally in Wagin, Western Australia. Glenyce Mills, who I spent some time travelling with in Tasmania is going to be the Rally Manager and she has a huge job ahead of her. But she is an extremely organised person and I know it will be a most successful rally. I wrote a poem called Ragin’ in Wagin to help promote the rally, and this is what it says:

We’ll be ragin’ in Wagin
The Solos Rally in the West
Where the wild flowers are spectacular
And the beaches are the best.
And whether you come over the top
Or across the Nullabor
You’ll find that Western Australia
Has amazing things in store.

From the pure white sandy beaches
That you’ll see at Cape Le Grande,
To the rugged cliffs of Kalbarri
And the red earth of the inland.
The National Parks provide great camps
And it’s not hard to find free sites
Where fellow travellers meet for fun
To enjoy the starry nights.

The country towns are friendly
The station stays a must
But the wind blows strong on the west coast
And you’ll never get rid of red dust
But the dust’s like a badge of honour
It says you’ve travelled far
And you’ve ventured on those long dirt roads
And not stuck to the tar.

So make the trip to Wagin
Enjoy your journey on the way
Gather lots of great experiences
And we’ll see you in WA!


Away with the Willie Wagtails

No – not those cute little chattering black and white birds, but the Western Willie Wagtails, a chapter of the CMCA. Mind you there was still a lot of chattering going on!

My first trip was in May when we went to Bindoon.


What a wet weekend it was! There were only a few vans camped at the Bindoon oval but it was a great opportunity for me to meet some new people. Richard, who I had met at Lucky Bay, also came along and his van became the meeting place as he put his awning out – it was the only reasonably dry area for us to gather. But as we discovered, if you sat to close to the edge the rain ran off the awning and down your back! As Happy Hour kicked in the awning struts also became a hazard as we forgot to duck whenever we moved so there was a constant cry of “Watch your head!” It didn’t do any of us much good as we still managed to knock our heads whenever we moved.Despite the weather we had a great time, and wandered off to the Bindoon bakery for morning tea together one day.

When we woke on Sunday morning there was a heavy fog which was quite beautiful as the sun came up over the orange grove next to the oval.


A foggy morning in Bindoon


The fog lifts as the sun comes over the hill

I wrote the following thank you for the weekend

The rain came down at Bindoon
But not on our parade
The happy campers came and went
The stayers – well, we stayed!

We gathered next to Richard’s van
– He had his awning out –
But whenever someone went to leave
We had to give a shout

“Watch your head” became the cry
But it didn’t seem to matter
The drinks flowed freely at happy hour
And there was a lot of noisy chatter.

Friday’s happy hour began around four
And finished around nine
Some of us forgot to eat
But we were all feeling fine.

On Saturday we shared our meal
And all sat down for dinner
There was a lot of laughs and friendships made
For me, the weekend was a winner!

In June our venue was at Gillingarra.


We travelled through Bindoon to get there and I had company on this journey as I picked up Wilma, one of the ladies I had met at Bindoon, to take her along.

What a different weekend this was! There were about 20 vans at this excellent facility, with a great kitchen, hall, and hot showers. Although the weather was chilly it was dry, with beautiful sunny days and clear starry skies at night.

Jose(Yosay), who I had travelled with in Tasmania, turned up with her little campfire and we gathered around that on Thursday and Friday night for Happy Hour – and later!- and there was lots of good conversation and sing alongs led by Jose. Friday the 13th was also a full moon so we all stood up and wolf howled at the moon! I don’t think we would have scared anyone away with our feeble attempts, though!


Jose getting the wood ready for our campfire


Happy hour begins


Around the campfire with the Western Willie Wagtails


Around the campfire with the Western Willie Wagtails

I was totally spoilt by Les, one of the other Solos, who cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for both Wilma and I.

Saturday night was our shared meal in the comfort of the hall and then back out to the huge fire pit where Les had a massive fire going. The wind had dropped, the stars were out, the wine flowed, the company was excellent, the laughter loud – I can’t wait for the next meeting in July.



Goomeri Pumpkin Festival

Goomeri is a town situated at the junction of the Burnett and Wide Bay Highways about 235kms from Brisbane and about 78kms from Gympie. It has a population of about 600 and the name Goomeri, (pronounced goo-mary), is supposedly derived from an Aboriginal word meaning “broken shield”.


The Kingfishers chapter of the CMCA (Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia) planned an event to attend the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival, which is held on the last Sunday of May every year. Our vans all rolled up well before the festival began and the Recreation Grounds looked like a huge camping ground. About 100 of the vehicles were with our group but there were many more in attendance as well and they spilled over to the showgrounds when the Rec Grounds filled up.


View from Policeman’s Hill to the camp ground

Brutus and I arrived on Thursday afternoon before the Festival and I was lucky enough to get a park fairly close to the facilities so I didn’t need to set up my Porta-loo, even though I was all prepared to do so. If you read my post about Green Frog Country, you’ll probably wonder if I made the right decision!

June and Marilyn, who I had met at the Biggenden Solos Rally were already there but this time Marilyn had bought a little Suzuki that she was towing behind her motorhome so we were lucky enough to get out and about to some of the local sights before the main event on Sunday. So on Friday we set off to Murgon, about 20kms away and went directly to the Information Centre where it was recommended that we go to the Queensland Dairy & Heritage Museum.


Absolutely fascinating, and the lady who showed us around was an enthusiastic guide and a wealth of information about the old machinery, historic buildings and the history of the area.



When we left the Dairy Museum we drove up to the Apex Park (which is a free camp), and which had spectacular views across the valley.


June with Amber, her dog, and Marilyn

It was surrounded by fields of Duboisia – a shrubby crop that is used in the production of medications for the treatment of motion sickness, stomach ulcers and stomach cramp. It is also used as a pre-operative smooth muscle relaxant, administered to patients prior to surgery.

The Aborigines are said to have thrown the crushed leaves into fish ponds, The drug released would affect the central nervous system of the fish, they’d lose their ability to swim and float to the surface.

In World War 2 it was used as an antidote against enemy chemical gases.


Terraces ready for Duboisia planting


A special plant: Duboisia bush


In the search for a safe and effective treatment for stomach pain, Boehringer Ingelheim, the makers of  Buscopan®, learnt from the healing arts of some of the world’s oldest cultures. The Aborigines of Australia used Duboisia to relieve stomach pain.

The active ingredient is extracted from the leaves of an Australian native tree, known as the Corkwood tree or Duboisia. Boehringer Ingelheim delivers 90% of the global requirement of the ingredient. Using sophisticated and environmentally-friendly farming methods, farmers in Australia and South America grow and harvest the small rainforest trees. The dried leaves are used to create the high-quality pharmaceutical product.

The South Burnett area produces about 95% of the world’s requirements of Duboisia, which requires well-drained red volcanic soil.

We then drove up a really steep hill to Boat Mountain. Several of the access roads are still closed off from the flood damage in January this year. Warning: definitely not accessible by motorhomes at any time of the year! Boat Mountain got it’s name because it looks like an upturned boat and was the source of timber in Murgon’s earliest days. Teamsters would haul the timber from the mountain side down to the town.

Our next day’s adventure was to head to the wineries, and there were plenty to choose from. We visited 3 of them and typically enjoyed the wines at the first one best! Our first stop was Moffatdale Ridge and I couldn’t resist buying a bottle of liquer style wine made from Cognac and Walnuts – yum! From there we went to the award winning Clovely Estate.


Clovely Estate Cellar Door

The cellar door was very busy and we didn’t find it nearly as welcoming as Moffatdale Ridge and hence didn’t enjoy the wines as much – amazing how atmosphere influences your taste buds. Our last stop, and where we had lunch, was Dusty Hills Winery and Tavern. I had a great Seafood Chowder and enjoyed every mouthful. The tavern was set up like a mountain lodge, loaded with atmosphere and obviously very popular with locals and visitors alike.


Tavern at Dusty Hills winery

On the way back to Goomeri we stopped at the Bjelke Peterson Dam.


At Bjelke Peterson Dam – with Marilyn

The Bjelke-Petersen Dam, or Lake Barambah as its also commonly known, is situated fifteen kilometres from Murgon in the beautiful region of South Burnett. Although the dam is primarily used for irrigation and water supply to surrounding towns, it has become a huge tourist attraction, holiday destination and hub for numerous water sports and activities. The dam covers about 2500 hectares of land and holds over a million mega litres of water. Complete with car park, boat ramp, numerous picnic and BBQ areas, a never ending supply of nature and wildlife, this is the ideal place for a family picnic, day trip, weekend break or holiday. There is something here for everybody. The biggest event of the year takes palce during the first weekend in October every year. Fishermen from all over Queensland come together to compete in the biggest fishing competition of the year. Attracting huge crowds, and creating an even bigger atmosphere its no wonder this one is not to be missed.

The Bjelke-Petersen Dam is well stocked with a wide variety of fish. You will find everything from Golden Perch and Silver Perch to Sartoga and Australian Basscan. Large quantities of Tandan’s, or more commonly known as Eel Tailed Catfish, have also been found in these waters. In recent years, as a result of their illegal introduction, Sleepy Cod and Redclays Crayfish have been fished here.

All this and the Pumpkin Festival doesn’t start until tomorrow!

The sleepy town of 600 grew by thousands, dozens of market stalls set up in the parks, and roads were fenced off for the great Pumpkin Roll down Policeman’s Hill.


My favourite display was by Guy McLean, a horseman from Susan River, who worked his 5 horses in a small arena to a very appreciative crowd. He had the gift of the gab and was really entertaining and managed to demonstrate not only his amazing horse skills but the personalities of each horse too.


Guy McLean – Champion Horseman

Pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin scones – and of course the Great Pumpkin Roll. It was a lot of fun – crazy – Pumpkin Shot Put, Pumpkin Bowls, pumpkin everything!


Camel rides at Goomeri Pumpkin Festival


Pumpkin Put


The Great Pumpkin Roll down Policeman’s Hill

ImageWe packed up on Monday and headed off for a quiet night at Kilkivan (pronounced Kill-keevan) Bush Camping Ground. What a lovely spot – beautiful setting, good facilities and reasonably priced. I’m looking forward to going back for a few days solitude and wonderful clean fresh air. A group of Apostle birds made themselves at home in the remnants of the campfire, no doubt looking for some tasty morsels. I’m glad I had my bird book with me, and with Marilyn’s help, was able to identify the birds…. I have to tell you that Marilyn didn’t need the bird book, she just knew!


Another wonderful few days with fantastic people. Can’t wait for my next adventure!